Antique Clay Spindle Whorls, Group of 3 - Rita Okrent Collection (P901)

RARE FIND: only one in our inventory

Group of 3 antique clay spindle whorls likely from Egypt or Peru.
Exact origin and age unknown.
Could be used as beads or pendants in your next jewelry design.
Black spindwhorl bead has significant chips on bottom but is still useable. Other two are in good condition.

Smaller two spindle whorls measure 23-24mm diameter/.9 inch. Larger spindle whorl measures 28mm diameter/1.1 inch.

 More info: Spindle whorls are small, often circular, weights that are used in the process of spinning fibers into thread or yarn. They are typically made of materials such as stone, clay, bone, or wood, and are placed at the bottom of a spindle.
Spindles and spindle whorls have been used for thousands of years by various cultures around the world to spin fibers into yarn or thread. They were particularly important before the invention of the spinning wheel, as they allowed people to create yarn or thread for weaving or knitting by hand.
Spindle whorls have been found in archaeological sites all over the world, and are still used today by some traditional craftspeople and artisans.
Some examples of countries where spindle whorls have been used include:

  1. Peru: Spindle whorls made of stone, ceramics, and bone have been found in archaeological sites in Peru, and are still used today by some traditional Andean weavers.

  2. India: Spindle whorls made of clay, wood, and stone have been used in India for centuries in the production of silk, cotton, and other fibers.

  3. China: Spindle whorls made of jade, porcelain, and other materials have been used in China for thousands of years, and are still used today by some traditional weavers.

  4. Turkey: Spindle whorls made of stone, bone, and ceramics have been found in archaeological sites in Turkey, and are still used today by some traditional Anatolian weavers.

  5. Egypt: Spindle whorls made of stone and ceramics have been found in archaeological sites in Egypt, and were used in the production of linen and other fibers.

These are just a few examples, but spindle whorls have been used in many other countries and cultures as well, including throughout Europe, Africa, and the Americas.
Pendant Item 901
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Rita's Story

Rita became interested in making jewelry in the early 1970s when she took a silversmithing class through the local community college. By the mid-1970’s, she had developed an interest in ethnic and tribal beads and artifacts and began designing necklaces. In 1977-1978, Rita and the family lived abroad as Rita’s husband, David, a professor at UCLA, was on sabbatical leave. Rita always had a good eye for interesting items, but on this extended 14-month trip she was able to explore and buy from dealers in the souks of Israel and Egypt, flea markets in London, Paris and Vienna and from sellers in Hong Kong and China, Iran and India. During her travels, she searched for ancient and antique beads and pendants, for small antiquities and for unusual artifacts.

Upon returning to the U.S., Rita established her collection and focused, in particular, on designing necklaces using ancient and antique materials such as amazonite, amber, amethyst, coral, faience, glass, horn, ivory, jade, jet, shell and silver. She often combined these beads with a central pendant or several pendants, in designing ethnic, one-of-a-kind necklaces. She designed her own hand-made, sterling silver hook-and-eye clasps, which we still make available in our Clasps section. She continued to develop her bead expertise and became an active member and President of the Los Angeles-area Bead Society. Rita held trunk shows from her home showroom and displayed at the Los Angeles Gift Show, as well as consigning items to many local L.A. stores and boutiques, including Saks Fifth Avenue. Rita’s work and collection was featured in Ornament Magazine and she contributed beads to the editor, Robert Liu with his now classic book, “Collectible Beads.”

Rita traded with merchants from Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and other parts of Africa for more than twenty-five years, providing her with an extensive and unusual collection of African Trade beads, as well as African wall hangings and wood carvings and masks. Rita’s collection grew as she continued to travel and live abroad over the years, including travels to Syria, Egypt, Israel, and Morocco. Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, Rita’s reputation continued to grow as a designer of original necklaces and as a dealer of exquisite ethnic and antique beads and artifacts.

Rita passed away from a long illness in 2005. Rita’s husband, David, built her website in 1999 with the assistance of a graduate student, and maintained it and the collection until 2008. The online store and collection are now managed by their daughter, Jocelyne, based in the San Diego area.

The beauty of Rita’s original creations and of her outstanding collection are reflected in our store and website. Our customers, both collectors and designers, come to us from around the world. We appreciate your business. Thank you for visiting the Rita Okrent Collection!



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At the Rita Okrent Collection, we want you to be completely satisfied with your purchase. Items purchased from the Rita Okrent Collection in sale-able condition can be returned for a full refund - please contact us within 30 days of receipt or 45 days of purchase to notify us with the reason for your return (via email at Customer is responsible for return shipping and insurance to the Rita Okrent Collection. Please ship your purchase back to us as soon as possible in order to expedite your refund. Your refund will only be processed immediately upon receipt of your purchase.

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Rita Okrent Collection
1585 Hillsmont Drive
El Cajon, California 92020

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